Understanding Omnichannel Payments
Have you heard the term â€œomnichannelâ€� or â€œomnichannel paymentsâ€� and wondered what it means? In the case of payments, omnichannel — literally meaning multiple channels –Â refers to the ability to take payments in a variety of ways without a jarring difference in convenience, service or even branding.
This means that your online payment method should be as convenient and professional for the customer as it would be if they walked into your store to make a purchase. However, omnichannel goes beyond simply online or in-person payments â€“ it also includes invoicing, recurring billing and mobile payments. These days, it is more important than ever to accept payments in the method your customers prefer.
When it comes to taking payments, you will want to make sure you can accept not only cash, but also credit cards, debit cards, checks and maybe even contactless payments like Apple Pay. You will need to determine how you will accept payments and work with a processor that offers the services you need.
Many businesses do not need an omnichannel solution. If your business only accepts payments in one way (either all online or all in-person), omnichannel will not matter to you. However, if you accept payments in multiple ways (partially online and partially in person, in person and over the phone, etc.) then you will have two options: work with processors and obtain merchant accounts separately for each acceptance method or work with a processor that can offer an all-in-one payment processing solution.
Essentially, an omnichannel payment processing solution provides the ability to accept payments in multiple ways through one processing company. For example, a medical practice that swipes clientsâ€™ cards if they are in the office but also accepts payments over the phone could benefit from an omnichannel payment processor. It is not required that you use one processor; but in many cases, it will be easier for everything from reporting to customer service.
Payment types and channels
In payment processing, there are really only two types of credit card acceptance: â€œcard-present,â€� where staff physically runs a card through a reader, and â€œcard-not present,â€� where the card is not swiped. However, within those two categories, there are multiple ways of accepting the payment, including:
- Online shopping carts or â€œbuyâ€� buttons
- Recurring / subscription billing
- Invoicing with links to secure payment forms
- Keyed transactions (often used for phone or mail orders)
- Card readers connected to smartphones
- Traditional countertop credit card machines or POS systems
- Contactless / NFC transactions like Apple Pay
It is important to note that there are situations in which the customer may present their card at the time of sale yet the transaction does not automatically become â€œcard-present.â€� If you hand key the card information, the transaction becomes â€œcard-not-present.â€� A transaction is only considered â€œcard-presentâ€� if the card is swiped (magnetic stripe cards), dipped (chip cards), or tapped (Apple Pay and contactless / NFC payments.)
Which methods you need will depend on your specific business. A general retailer may only need online and swiped payment capabilities, while a gym or yoga studio …read more
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